Sainte-Beuve, Charles Augustin (18041869)

Sainte-Beuve, Charles Augustin, the greatest of French literary critics, born at Boulogne-sur-Mer; adopted medicine as a profession in deference to the wishes of his widowed mother, and for some years studied at Paris, but even as a student had begun his career as a literary critic by contributions to the Globe newspaper; in 1827 became acquainted with Victor Hugo, whose commanding influence drew him into the Romantic movement, and determined for him a literary career; a critical work on French poetry in the 16th century (1828), two volumes of mediocre poetry (1829-1830), and a psychological novel, “Volupté” (1834), the fruit of spiritual and mental unrest, preceded his lectures at Lausanne on Port-Royal (1837), which, afterwards elaborated and published, contain some of his finest writings; an appointment in the Mazarin Library, Paris (1840), brought him a modest competence, and allowed him during the next 8 years to contribute without strain or stress to the Revue des Deux Mondes; was elected in 1845 to the Academy; three years later lectured for a session at Liège University; during 1849-1869 he contributed a weekly literary article to the Constitutionnel; these form his famous “Causeries du Lundi” and “Nouveaux Lundis,” which, for variety of human interest, critical insight, and breadth of sympathy, remain unsurpassed; was appointed professor of Latin in the Collège de France (1854), but his unpopularity with the students, owing to his support of Napoleon III., led to his resignation; as a senator in 1865 his popularity revived by his eloquent advocacy of freedom of thought, and on his decease some 10,000 people attended his funeral (18041869).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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St. Vincent, John Jervis, Earl
Sainte-Beuve, Charles Augustin
Sainte-Claire Deville, Henri Étienne
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